Tags: Bernanke | taper | Fed | guidance

WSJ: Bernanke's Decision Against Tapering Shows 'Failure of Nerve'

By Dan Weil   |   Friday, 20 Sep 2013 11:33 AM

Wall Street Journal editors aren't too impressed with the Federal Reserve's decision Wednesday to refrain from tapering its quantitative easing (QE).

One of the justifications for not tapering cited by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke was that long-term interest rates have shot up in anticipation of tapering, notes a Journal editorial.

That anticipation came from Bernanke's own comments in May and June that a cutback in QE could be coming soon.

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"For him now to shrink at the market reaction he must have anticipated to his tapering guidance suggests a large failure of nerve," the editorial says. "It also undermines the credibility of the Fed's future policy guidance."

The real problem lies with Fed policy, according to The Journal editors.

"The Fed's monetary exertions haven't worked as planned," they write.

"Near-zero interest rates and bond purchases helped the economy amid the 2008-2009 panic, but after nearly five years, the undeniable reality is that they haven't delivered faster growth."

Bernanke won't admit failure. "So his contradictory retort is essentially that these policies have worked, but because they haven't worked well enough, they must be continued," the editorial states.

"For Mr. Bernanke to blink even as he is heading out the Fed door shows how difficult it will be to return to monetary normalcy. If he begins tapering before he steps down, he might at least force his successor as chairman to think hard before changing course."

Marc Faber, publisher of the Gloom Boom & Doom Report, thinks the Fed is now in a "QE unlimited" mode, and he doesn't see that as a good thing.

"They [Fed officials] don't understand that if you print money, it benefits a handful of people, not even 3 percent of the population," he told Bloomberg TV.

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